I’m a Georgia native, fan of the Braves, Falcons, Hawks, and Georgia Bulldogs. My allegiance to said teams will never change no matter where I am in the world.
That said, here’s my take on the Atlanta Hawks.
We can sit here as fans and kid ourselves all we want about this team. The bottom line is they haven’t got the personnel to get where they need to be among the Eastern Conference elite. Don’t tell me I should be happy they make the playoffs every year. I don’t have to be content with my favorite team just going to the party. That’s not how I was raised as an athlete or a person.
I also don’t need to hear the excuses because frankly that record broke last season. Joe Johnson isn’t a “real” All-Star and disappears in big games. Well, he’s a Hawk until at least 2017 and he’s a lot better than some of the alternatives (would you rather have Gilbert Arenas or Brandon Jennings?).
Josh Smith needs time to develop is another classic I hear from friends of mine back home. Sorry folks, at 26 its time to come to grips with your strengths and weaknesses, grow up, and realize that not every fast break has to end with the greatest dunk we’ve ever seen.
my favorite is when I hear all we need is a point guard. Chris Paul mistakes aside (just typing that brings tears to my eyes) and with the hope that Jeff Teague will continue to improve the Hawks are notorious for less than stellar draft showings. Please, fellow Georgians. Acie Law with an 11 pick in the first round? Seriously? Pau Gasol for Abdur-Rahim and Tinsley?
As I watched this first-round series against the Celtics I saw the Hawks take game one and thought they may have finally put it together. Larry Drew is a fantastic coach, Rondo was suspended, and Horford was set to come back sooner than later.
That hope faded and quickly snapped me back to a reality that included an invisible Joe Johnson, six turnovers from Josh Smith (for those counting that would be 10 in the three games he’s played), and mental lapses at all the wrong times.
My opinion going into this match-up was that Atlanta needed to show they were ready to take it to another level or else go in a different direction. Down 3-1 to Boston and facing first-round elimination this group isn’t poised to get any better together. I like the players, but this is a perennial four or five seed in their youth and they are fast approaching fringe status in the Eastern Conference.
Frustrating isn’t the word to use when describing my feelings about the Hawks and their playoff malaise. I would use a more harsh term that other fans might share with me.